Taylor unveils state’s version of ‘Caylee’s Law’
Published 2:00 pm Monday, September 26, 2011
SPECIAL TO THE ADVOCATE
Sen. Bryan Taylor, R-Prattville, unveiled legislation Monday that would make it a felony for a parent or legal guardian to neglect to promptly notify authorities that their child is missing or dead.
The bill is an Alabama version of “Caylee’s Law,” introduced in Florida and other states after single mother Casey Anthony was acquitted of murdering her daughter, Caylee, even though Anthony failed to report her daughter missing for 31 days while carrying on a raucous, partying lifestyle.
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Taylor described Anthony’s behavior after her daughter went missing as “criminal,” and said she deserved more prison time for her behavior whether the jury believed she was ultimately responsible for Caylee’s death or not.
Taylor said he had the legislation drafted after receiving thousands of letters and e-mails from constituents who shared his shock and disbelief that Anthony was acquitted.
“This isn’t about Casey Anthony anymore,” Taylor said. “It’s about making sure the law protects innocent children in Alabama and holds the adults charged with their care accountable for despicable, criminal conduct. The Casey Anthony trial exposed a weakness in the law. We’re going to close it.”
Taylor’s bill would make it a Class C felony, which carries a one to 10-year sentence, for a parent or guardian to neglect to report a child 12 years old or younger as missing to law enforcement within 24 hours. It would be considered a Class B felony, which carries a two to 20-year sentence, if the child also suffers great bodily harm, is permanently disabled, or is disfigured while missing.
The bill also makes it a felony to fail to report the death of a child and to report false information to law enforcement authorities in connection with a missing-child investigation.
The Alabama State Senate meets for 30 legislative days that are spread out over 120 consecutive calendar days in the spring each year. Senators are allowed to pre-file bills during the interim that will be assigned to committee during the next Regular Legislative Session. Taylor said “Caylee’s Law” will be pre-filed later this week after other senators have an opportunity to sign on as co-sponsors.